What Do You Want?

I love the movie Field of Dreams. There are several scenes that I think speak to feelings and emotions we all share. But the scene where Ray ‘kidnaps’ Terrance to the ball game is one that I particularly enjoyed. They are talking about life and the experience of involvement in the 60s and of those who still lived with part of their heart back there. So Rays asks, “What do you want?”

Terrance launches into this little piece of dialogue. “I want them to stop looking to me for answers, begging me to speak again, write again, be a leader. I want them to start thinking for themselves. I want my privacy.” The funny thing was, Ray wasn’t asking what he wanted from people, he was asking what Terrance wanted from the concession stand. So Terrance says, “Oh. A dog and a beer.”

As I see it, there are two problems that happen in these situations. We may answer a question they weren’t asking, or we give counsel they don’t need. We too often try to fix things in the lives of friends and loved ones that we’re not qualified to address. It’s as if we stayed at a Holiday Inn Express and that makes us capable of the soul surgery they need. Sometimes they need a simple answer to a simple question and instead they get a speech in answer to a question they weren’t asking. The broken heart isn’t always looking for all the answers to all the questions—it just needs to hear that you care. The broken spirit may not need you to repair it, but rather to sustain it.

So is there a place for thorough, wise and biblical counsel? Of course there is. And if a person asks for that we need to offer counsel as best we can. But sometimes the best answer is not a sermon, a lecture,  pop psychology, a dose of Oprah with a side order of Dr. Phil, a book to read or a tape to listen to; sometimes the answer is as simple as, “A dog and a beer.”

It’s a noble thing to give people what they are asking for while knowing that they need so much more. Jesus knew this too. He said, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear” (John 16:12). So when the ones who trust you with their cares and wounds share openly their great fears and the turbulence of their hearts, give them what they are really asking for. This may open the door to meeting their great need later on.

telemicus out

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